2022 Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony features visually stunning performances and symbolism

opening ceremony
  • The 2022 Beijing Olympics are officially underway following visually stunning performances and a symbolic opening ceremony.
  • The segment included a snowflake performance bearing the names of every participating country and with snowflakes in the shape of a Chinese knot to represent unity and peace.
  • Athletes walked across LED-enabled floors during the Parade of Nations, and the symbolic ceremonial flame was held by two athletes, one of whom is Uyghur.

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics have kickstarted the Games with a grand opening ceremony that featured fanfare, stunning visuals with LED lights and symbolic performances that embodied themes of youth and peace.

To celebrate the arrival of spring, the opening ceremony began with the performance “Spring Awakening,” which included 400 performers equipped with large LED sticks to mimic the movement of spring willows. The costumes were designed by Chen Peng, a Chinese fashion designer.

The costumes in the second and third performances, “Display of Five Rings” and “Imagination,” were also designed by Chen. According to Women’s Wear Daily, the costumes for “Display of Five Rings” were inspired “by Chinese ice lantern and ice sculpture culture,” where the performers wore brightly colored hockey uniforms. Chen was inspired by the color red and Chinese knots in the “Imagination” performance to emphasize the symbol of beauty in Chinese culture. 

A snowflake-themed show was also featured in the opening ceremony, where the participating countries were introduced by snowflakes containing the country’s name. The snowflakes, designed in the shape of a Chinese knot, were inspired by the idea of peace and unity.

Most of the segments in the ceremony were performed by teenagers and children. One performance gathered children to sing the Olympic Games’ theme song while holding illuminated dove props to focus on the symbolism of youth.

Following the performances, a burst of fireworks lit up the National Stadium as China’s President Xi Jinping and the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, declared the Games officially open. 

An ice cube was then projected onto the floor as it displayed graphics honoring all previous Winter Games, beginning with the Chamonix Games in 1924. As the ice melted, six Olympic rings were revealed and the Parade of Nations began, starting with the welcoming of Greece.

Athletes walked across a vibrant and colorful LED-enabled floor for the Parade of Nations, where projections displayed a rotating floor. 

Participant countries’ order of appearance was determined by the number of strokes used in the first Chinese character in each country’s name, according to The New York Times.

To finish off the opening ceremony, the ceremonial flame was carried with China choosing two athletes, Dinigeer Yilamujiang and Zhao Jiwawen, to place the Olympic torch inside of the giant snowflake. Yilamujiang, a member of the Uyghur ethnic minority, was chosen in response to the recent controversy involving the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghurs. 

The U.S. government and others have described China’s treatment of the Uyghurs as genocide, resulting in a diplomatic boycott of the Games led by the U.S. and most recently joined by India.

Compared to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremony, which was held for four hours, the 2022 Beijing opening ceremony was only 100 minutes long due to the COVID-19 pandemic and cold weather.

Featured Image via BBC Sport

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